Privacy – Weekly Content Round-Up

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Read up on privacy happenings in this week's content round-up.

We’re sharing a collection of news headlines about the important subject of privacy. Here’s what made us sit up and take notice.

Iris Scans: Security Breakthrough Or Privacy Invasion?

By David Wagner for InformationWeek

According to recent research iris scans are 1,000 times more accurate than fingerprints scans and they’re able to establish your identiy up to 40 feet away. However, if they’re implemented are they being used to provide protection against terrorist threats or are they becoming another government tracking weapon that invades your privacy.

Quote from the post

“For now, this isn’t a major threat because if your iris has never been scanned, no one can identify you. The FBI has at least 104 million fingerprints in its database — 70 million of which are from criminals. It has no known iris database, though it has experimented with the idea.”

Bruce Schneier on Privacy and the Data Free-for-All

By Caleb Garling for Wired (sponsored post)

Digital privacy advocate, cybersecurity evangelist and CTO of Resilient Systems Bruce Schneier has published his 14th book, Data and Goliath. In it, he warns how corporate giants have access to significant amounts of our personal data and if left unchecked they may potentially cause more harm than good. Understanding how metadata should be protected from government surveillance and why it’s important to take an active approach in protecting your online privacy are discussed.

Quote from the post

“There’s this pervasive myth that young people don’t care about privacy. It’s obviously wrong. All people care deeply about privacy—analog, digital, everything—and kids are especially sensitive about privacy from their parents, teachers, and friends.

They have different definitions of public and private than older people do, but that’s okay: There’s a generation gap here. Privacy is a vital aspect of human dignity, and we all value it.”


Students: The One Group Missing From Student Data Privacy Laws and Bills

By Larry Magid for Huffington Post

While protecting privacy is important most legislation and policies are focused on adults, which leaves those under the age of 18 with protection by proxy through their parents or guardians. Microsoft Principle Researcher and privacy advocate Danah Boyd weighs in on the importance of extending privacy coverage to minors and why it’s important to make changes now rather than later.

Quote from the post

“I’m not suggesting that parents not have rights. I think they should have the right to look at their students’ records but I think that students — even before they turn 18 — should have at least as many rights as parents. It’s about time we start to respect privacy, free speech rights and intellectual property rights of children.”


Privacy and Security Innovation: The Cautionary Tale of Nomi Technologies And The FTC

By Tim Sparapani for Forbes

An in-depth look at how retail tracking company Nomi was  hit hard by the FTC for neglecting to provide a consumer opt-out option. The article follows how Nomi potentially faces 20 years of government audits and other compliance related items as a result of the infraction. Is this to stiff a penalty or does it force similar companies to reconsider their privacy policies and how they aim to utilize collected consumer data?

Quote from the post

‘Nomi’s privacy policy was inaccurate and should have been corrected. The severity of the conditions Nomi agreed to, however, suggest that the FTC’s penalty options, particularly with data privacy and security cases, are not carefully calibrated to produce the desired results. The FTC needs more gradation in its penalties between a slap on the wrist and decades long oversight for companies that violate consumers’ data privacy, particularly for cases where little or no consumer injury occurred. This might encourage more privacy innovations, while allowing the FTC to police more violations.”


Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance

By Mary Madden & Lee Rainie for Pew Research Center

Edward Snowden dramatically changed how people feel and think about their privacy. From government surveillance and policymaking to digital tracking and data collection, Americans continue to develop strong feelings and attitudes about the importance of privacy overall. An insightful article that shares results from Pew’s 2015 privacy research study.

Quote from the post

“While some Americans have taken modest steps to stem the tide of data collection, few have adopted advanced privacy-enhancing measures. However, majorities of Americans expect that a wide array of organizations should have limits on the length of time that they can retain records of their activities and communications. At the same time, Americans continue to express the belief that there should be greater limits on government surveillance programs. Additionally, they say it is important to preserve the ability to be anonymous for certain online activities.”

Happy Friday!

Photo credit: Wiertz Sebastien – Privacy via (license)

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Sarah Hartshorn is a marketing, public relations and social media professional with Vuze. She blogs about content, torrents, social media and a number of other tech topics. Sarah has been involved with traditional and digital marketing since 1998.